"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"
Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom (James 3:13-18)
1. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek
after wisdom - Prov 3:13-18; Prov 4:7-9
2. Likewise, in the New Testament we are exhorted to walk with wisdom
- Ep 5:15-17
3. But in Ja 3:13-18, we learn that there is more than just one kind
4. In this lesson, we will take a look at what James describes as two
different kinds of wisdom: "Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom"
[In discussing these two, James does so by making several contrasts;
the first being...]
I. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "ORIGIN"
A. EARTHLY WISDOM IS NOT FROM ABOVE (v15)
1. It is EARTHLY
a. I.e., worldly
b. Wisdom that is according to the world's standards
c. But this wisdom is foolishness to God - cf. 1 Co 1:20
2. It is SENSUAL
a. Appealing to the senses, the emotions, the passions
b. Wisdom according to what FEELS right (but that doesn't make
3. It is DEMONIC
a. The kind of wisdom possessed by the devil and his angels
b. A wisdom that often finds its origin in the influences of
B. HEAVENLY WISDOM IS FROM ABOVE (v17)
1. It comes from GOD - cf. Ja 1:17
2. It comes via PRAYER - cf. Ja 1:5-8
[Knowing the origin or source of each kind of wisdom ought to encourage
us to select the right one.
But if that is not enough, then consider how James describes...]
II. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "NATURE"
A. EARTHLY WISDOM (v14; v16)
1. Full of BITTER ENVY
2. Possessing SELF-SEEKING IN THE HEART
3. This wisdom extols as virtues such qualities as:
4. It was this kind of wisdom...
a. That prompted Satan and his angels to rebel against God
b. That prompted the disciples to argue over who would be the
greatest in the kingdom
B. HEAVENLY WISDOM (v17)
1. It is first PURE
a. Above all else, it is true to God's Will
b. Not one to compromise truth for the sake of peace
2. Then it is PEACEABLE
a. Holding firm to the truth, it makes every effort to be at
peace - cf. Ro 12:18
b. For example, speaking the truth in an attitude of love -
cf. Ep 4:15
a. That is, kind in one's dealings with others
b. Not harsh, even when right and dealing with those who differ
- cf. 2 Ti 2:24-25
4. WILLING TO YIELD
a. Not in matters of truth
b. But in matters of opinion - Ro 14:1
c. In matters of liberty - Ro 14:19-21
5. FULL OF MERCY
a. Quick to forgive the offenses of others
b. Wisely understanding one's own need of mercy - cf. Ja 2:13
6. Producing GOOD FRUITS
a. Notice verse 13, where it says we are to show by our
conduct our true wisdom and understanding
b. This wisdom takes one beyond being a HEARER to being a DOER
- Ja 1:22
c. Understanding that "faith without works is dead" - Ja 2:26
7. WITHOUT PARTIALITY
a. Showing no respect of persons - cf. Ja 2:1-13
b. Rather, treating all fairly, on the same basis
8. WITHOUT HYPOCRISY
a. Indicating that all of the above is not an "act", a "show"
b. But that it comes from a heart desiring to please God, not
[Certainly the superiority of "Heavenly Wisdom" over "Earthly Wisdom" is
apparent in this passage.
But as additional proof, notice also...]
III. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "FRUITS"
A. EARTHLY WISDOM (v16)
1. Causes CONFUSION
2. And EVERY EVIL THING
3. Makes you wonder what kind of wisdom...
a. Is behind denominationalism
b. Is often manifested in some congregational meetings
B. HEAVENLY WISDOM (v18)
1. Produces PEACE, instead of confusion
2. Bears the fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS, instead of every evil thing
1. Certainly when we compare their ORIGIN, NATURE and FRUITS, the wisdom
to be preferred is "HEAVENLY WISDOM"
2. What kind of wisdom do we have?
a. Those who have "EARTHLY WISDOM" boast of theirs (v14)
b. While those who have "HEAVENLY WISDOM" show theirs by their
good conduct done in meekness (v13)
3. What kind of wisdom do we want?
a. If EARTHLY, then no effort is necessary
1) Just do what the world tells you
2) Just do what feels right
b. But if HEAVENLY, then we must be diligent
1) To seek such wisdom from God
2) To demonstrate such wisdom by our conduct
4. What kind of wisdom do you have in regards to the gospel of Christ?
a. EARTHLY WISDOM makes no response to the gospel, or if any, only
that which is convenient
b. HEAVENLY WISDOM receives the commands of the gospel joyfully and
obediently - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38
Have you demonstrated "HEAVENLY WISDOM"?
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